Brain Strain...

Have you ever had a brain strain?  In a world where information overload is a given and mind medication is taken more like a supplement, I think it is time to slow down and step away from what can cause the brain to strain.  Over stimulation is one of the number one causes of mental madness. 

As a result, I have come to believe that just because I am capable of holding a lot of information, does not mean I should.  Anymore then sitting down and gulping down a gallon of ice cream, just because I can.  Only after stepping away from social media did I realize the effect it was having on my own peace of mind.

In fact, just a few days into the disconnecting and I already feel a difference in my mental state and spirit. There is a peace in my mind as I live in the moment and dream about the future, one that does not consist of following a post, filling in an update or catching up on yesterday's rants.

I also made the decision to disconnect my email from my phone for the summer. This is putting me in control over what will come into my mind and when I will allow it.  I feel my brain taking a breath of fresh air as I put a stop to all the information coming at me.  There is a sweet silence hovering over my mind.  As I have even asked others not to share the post the put up or the walls they have read.

Furthermore, it has become evident that the brain strain caused my mind to turn to mush and my hobby became a habit. Checking the walls of cyber space more then the walls of my heart, was just another reason why I chose to step away from media and enjoy this season of rest and renewal.  Like spring cleaning for my house, or fasting food for my body, this is a type of de-clutter for my mind.

Three months seems like a long time to go without until I look at all I gain.  I can feel my brain sighing with relief and my heart beating gentler as I fold into my convictions.  It is hard to live in authentic community when I am more focused on face book rather then the faces in front of me. Just because my brain is capable of holding much, does not mean my mind needs to. 


Transformation Of The Front Porch...

The transformation of the front porch became a safe place to connect into community.  Only when people are willing to listen more and talk less do they feel safe.   The circle of friends leaning in and listening well provided for an environment of connecting at a deep level that happens when the human spirit experiences a safe place.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. “(Romans 14:22 ESV)
This was the verse I had read just read moments prior to the gathering on the front porch.  I do not believe God was telling me to shut up but I am confident in the fact that he was prompting me to listen well and talk less.

As people started pulling up in their cars and preparing to join me on the porch, I allowed what I had just read to make a home in my heart.  Note to self, “keep my faith to myself, keep my intentions in check and know that people feel safe when people feel heard.”  Intentional listening had to become the driving force for the transformation to take place. 

For this reason, I led with my silence and spoke from my heart.  Not telling people how to listen but showing them how to be silent.  The natural tendency for the crowd to converse while others tried to communicate slowly stopped. 

A beautiful dialogue took place between a community of believers who showed up to share as everyone chose to lean in and listen.  As a result of the choice to listen well and talk less, people connected at a deep level and community happened.  Souls felt safe enough to share and the front porch became a sanctuary for our Sunday morning fellowship.

Thank you all who come to the front porch, who choose to be transparent and authentic as we gather and grow together, for a reason, season or a lifetime.  Two are better than one, we are created for community and that is the heart of the front porch.

Cris Nole
The Front Porch

Smoke Rings and Big Dreams...

Greetings From The Front Porch......

Authentic BBQ is a lot like Authentic Community, “low and slow is the way to go, hot and fast, will not last.”

There is a saying among the true BBQ trade, “low and slow is the way to go.” By allowing the meat to cook on low for a long period, it permits the juices to moisten the meat and add flavor to the food.

This can only happen when the cook also known in the BBQ trade as the pit master is willing to persevere through the process of waiting. The payoff is worth the wait.

Hot and fast will not last and the problem with this way of making meat is that unless you have experienced low and slow you will never know.

People have a tendency to except the counterfeit way until they experience the real deal, this can be said about many things, from food to friendships.

The smoke rings billowed out of the stack and the smell lingered in the air and floated into the neighborhood. The sun had already sent itself to bed and he had just started his journey to prepare the process of prepping the meat and stoking the fire. The pit master AKA, The Midnight Smoker©, AKA, Steve Whiting is all about the real deal.

Steve Whiting is the founder of The Midnight Smoker BBQ© the name of the business portrays the process of low and slow. You will find him up in the middle of the night in front of his grill flipping meat all in order to produce authentic BBQ.

This past weekend The Midnight Smoker BBQ© and team had a community event where the dream of the business were shared and a commercial was produced. Authentic BBQ came together with authentic community and a dream continued to unfold.

Through this process of dreaming big, The Midnight Smoker BBQ© and team can honestly say that they have learned something rather significant as they embraced their dream of being the best BBQ anyone has ever tasted along with connecting people into community one meal at a time.

They have learned that building authentic community like authentic BBQ has been a by-product of low and slow. All those sitting in the park, participating in the process of the production were people they had spent time with over the years. These were people who they have loved and lived with in community, for a reason, season or a lifetime.

There were no counterfeits in the park that day. Low and slow was the way to go, from the pit, to the pull pork to the people in the park.

The Midnight Smoker BBQ © and Team would like to say thank you all once again for all your support and encouragement as they continue to press into their dream.

Steve, Donna, Tony and Cris

Whispers from the Heart of God...

Dear Child,

My ways are not your ways.  Live in your why and your questions will be answered, if not here then in heaven.  

Sometimes my ways will feel like the wrong way.  I challenge you though to seek me out through the feeling and find the truth.

I have not forgotten you my child.  I think about you all the time.  You are the reason I died and rose again.

Do not let the pain of the process swallow you up.  Keep on persevering and you will be set free.

Run from those who want to rescue you.  Turn away from those who think they can save you.  Taken out of your trial can prevent you from growing in your faith.

My ways are not your ways.

Love Your

Allow Me To Introduce My Three Children...

Greetings from the Front Porch. 

Many of you have come to know me through the blogging community, so I thought since Mothers Day just passed; I would share a little bit more about myself as well as introduce you to my children. 

Allow me to introduce you to my three gems.   Amanda, the one with the bump, is my oldest and holds a very special place in my heart.  I met her when she was five years old and said I do to her daddy when she was just seven.  I have always said she was the easiest one to give birth to because all I had to do was say “I DO!”  The stretch marks from her are all on my heart.   The smile on her face is genuine and authentic.  She has taught me how to love unconditionally and how to value the individual.  She has been married for almost two years and is expecting her first child in June.

My second in line, Sami, is my bundle of energy; she came out ready to lead this world.  She is a 16-year-old half girl half woman, who wears her heart on her sleeve.  Her convictions are strong and her faith is profound.  She believes that people can change if you give them a chance.  She is my hero and my heart.  I can say without a doubt that I am still alive today because she knew what to do in the moment of crisis.  She giggles a lot and has no problem laughing at herself.  When life throws her a lemon, she makes lemonade. 

Last but not least is my youngest, my boy Vito; he is just shy of being 15.  I believe God gave me this man-child to remind me not to take life to seriously.  He lives in story and thinks in scenes.  He does not fit into a mold or into a box.  He is the reason his father found his own faith and the reason so many people believe in miracles.   Creativity and imagination lead his life; he is either writing, building or producing something new.  I love how he has always lived in the moment, an inspiration to a mommy who has a tendency to want to travel into the future.

What I love best about being the mommy of three is the way each of my children are so different and unique.  I love the way Amanda sounds when she speaks with her words.  I could cuddle with Sami all day and never get tired of holding her close.  And by far and still to this day, my favorite smell is the top of my boys head. 

Thank you blogging community for your encouragement and support over all these years.  For all you mothers out there,   I would love to learn more about your children and read about your stories.  Please feel free to send a response, comment or email, I promise to read and respond as well.

Cris@The Front Porch

Whispers from the Heart of God...

Stay in the moment, you will find me in the here and the now.  I am not in the future but you can trust me with your tomorrow, just stay in today.

Know your course, understand your plan; I will be with you wherever you go. 

Feel and see, I am good and I have so much to show you.  My way will not make your load heavy or your burden seem unbearable. 

You are not lazy but intentional.  You are not arrogant but wise.  Discernment will keep you from filling your plate with every opportunity that comes your way.

You are strong, brave and courageous.  You can do much in my name but know your season of being still.  Some days I will say, “Go,” some days I will say “stay.” 

You will find me in your stillness and I will give you all the strength you need.

Dreams are coming true, desires are unfolding and my kids are starting to talk, one conversation at a time. 

Stay in the moment, trust me with your future and know that I have marked out a straight path for you to follow.

Love Your

Garbage Trucks Make Me Grateful....

I lit three candles to set the tone, two on the coffee table and one next to my seat.  The cold wicker chair against my backside was a gentle reminder that it was not yet summertime.  The streetlights were still on and the day was about to break. 

I could feel the  cool breeze in the air whispering to me saying,  “spring is still here.”  I watched as the steam rolled off my coffee cup and into the air, disappearing into the morning silence.  The front porch is a peaceful place to be just before dawn.

I reserve the first part of my day,  cheering on the sun as it breaks through the darkness, otherwise known as the changing of the guards. 

The birds have become my friends,  I have convinced myself that God has sent them straight to my street to sing me a melody of songs.  Ancient readings, journal writing and reflections of truth have become my morning routine.

Her car rolled up to the curb, she quietly she made her way from her front seat to my front porch.  I could only make out her silhouette as she approached the patio, candles flickering in the background gave just enough light for me to see the smile across my friend face as she joined me for my early morning meditation . 

We would ever so softly speak to one another, sharing the fresh revelations we were receiving and then going  back to our souls and settling into the stillness. We ended our hour in thoughts, encouragement and prayer. 

She too fell in love with the choir made of birds and was catching the profound peace that was found by being still on the porch.  Silence between us told of a trust between two friends. 

All of a sudden,  the roaring of a motorized beast came bolting down the street, the green machine. I had forgotten it was trash day when I had invited my friend to join me.

All was well with my soul until the beast set sail in front of my driveway, a few feet from the front porch, my inner sanctuary was being disturbed and it did not matter how much I shushed the truck it refused to take a request and come back later. 

My peace went to anxiety as the noise of the trash truck became louder, containers of litter were lifted, dumped and dropped abruptly to the ground.

My eyes followed as the garbage truck methodically  removed my trash with its big metal claws from my side of the street, up and over and into its mouth.   

I found myself absorbed in the experience, watching and seeing  the similarity between garbage day and the creators  healing hands on my life, the whole actions appeared to resonate with my soul. I found  my anxiousness  turning into gratitude.  

In the blink of an eye, garbage trucks made me glad, in that moment I was reminded  about the truth of Jesus and how He chose to take my trash to the landfill (sea) of forgetfulness never to be seen again.

He loved me so much that He stretched out His arms and said it is finished and away it went. Instead of metal claws, metal nails took my trash away. 

Tuesday is trash day on my street. I will use this day to reflect on all that has been redeemed. I will use this day to make a list of how He turned my trash into treasures and cleaned up my curb.

No more will I find the green mechanical monster annoying . When I hear the sound of the steel truck coming down the street I will rejoice and be glad and never try to take back what He took away.  Garbage trucks make me grateful!

He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. He will cast all our  sins into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:19

"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins"
Isaiah 43:25'


I Have Confidence...

My confidents comes out of my time with communicating with the Father, where my trust has been built, through Jesus Christ. So, when He says go, I am fully aware that He has called me so He will equip me for whatever work he sets before me.

My qualifications are not the same as what the world, religious systems and many others think they should be. I will not rely on the opinions of man as I say yes to His leading. My qualifications come from Him and Him alone.

I will stop second-guessing myself when He calls me out. I will press more into His presence and less into the voices of the crowd saying, "Who do you think you are?" My résumé is not like the average persons.

It is filled with life experiences that allow me to relate to people from all situations. My degree is not from a University but rather from the creator of the Universe. My degree is not written on paper but on my heart.

It gives me authority to go into places where most people do not want to go.  It gives me the authority to speak into and over the lives of the least of these. I will use my degree to set the captives free, to go back into the belly of the whale and to be like a light on a hill. I will be confident in my calling because He has qualified me.

Father, you amaze me and bring me into such a great place of thanksgiving. Thank you for choosing me to serve in such away. Thank you for equipping me for the call as I move forward in my yes. Everyday I find myself falling in love with you even more. Your ways are found in the stillness of my moments and I find myself longing for more moments with you. I love you and am here to say yes Lord Send me.

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:4, 5 NLT)

Follow Your Heart.......

Whispers from the Heart of God…

Day 30

I created your heart to follow mine; I whisper softly to your soul, my voice is gentle and kind.  When you hear my voice, you will understand your calling, do not curse your struggles, past or present, they will be the very things I use to draw others near to me.

Do you want to know how to live?  Ask, seek, knock, I will always answer if your are willing to listen.  Directions for living can be found in your soul.  You will be shown many things to be true when you allow my spirit to speak to yours.

Help lead others in the way so that they to will know me and follow me.  Give me space and time and I will feed your soul.  You will thirst no more when you seek me with all your heart.

Follow your heart, know my voice.  I have great things I want to show you.

Love Your

Traffic On The Front Porch...

The traffic on the front porch today was a welcome surprise.  My husband left to run some errands in the foothills and the kids were scattered in two different directions.  Many people know that I am laid up for several weeks, minor foot surgery, so I am using the porch as a place to heal.  I prop my foot up on my wicker table, grab a good book, my Ipad and my cell phone, in case I need help.

If the front porch is all about connecting people into community then today it met its mark.  One of my favorite couples in the world stopped by with their little girl, flowers and a bottle of wine in hand.  Little did they know that just hours before their arrival I had been praying for such a visit.

What started out as a quick visit turned into an all day event, my heart was filled with joy as we laughed and reminisced about the past and dreamed about our future, history was the trademark and glue that held our relationship together, a common bond of faith as well,  individually and as couples for all these years.  

The smell of friendship was in the air as another car pulled up, filled with more of my favorite peeps and mutual friends to those already there.  The smiles on the faces of my friends as the made eye contact with each other melted my heart, “this is what the front porch is all about.”

Hours passed as we giggled together, I found myself almost in tears, thanking God for the conversations and connections that were occurring in the moment.  All was well with my soul as I found deep appreciation in the way God can use the pain of having to be broken to bring healing to not just my foot but to my heart. 

The traffic on my front porch is proof that we are called to live in community starting with one conversation at a time.  


  1. Have you ever wondered if God could use your brokenness to bring people together?
  2. Have you ever allowed God to use your broken places to bring peace to people?
  3. Have you ever let yourself rest in those broken places, trusting the process of healing?

I never thought in a million years that I could be OK with being still.  Today, I am learning by relying on His leading that by allowing myself to use my broken pieces to bring peace to other peoples places that I no longer pray "God take it away" but instead "use me to help connect others into community either for a reason, season or a life time."  I believe without reservation that two are better than one and that to be a catalyst for these connections is what helps me walk through my own personal healing.

Just for today, listen more, talk less and pause on purpose before you respond.  Use those pockets of pauses to let the spirit lead you into connecting others into community, one conversation at a time.  Watch how you too can become a catalyst for community and realize that The Front Porch is more about an attitude rather then a place.



Whispers from Heat of God….

Day 31

Celebrate what I have given you.  Find joy in the peaceful pockets of your day.   The moments most people overlook are the moments I am calling you to search me out in.  You will find me in the middle of the ordinary and mundane, you just need to be willing to peak and seek, you fill find me.

When you celebrate with  me, invite others to join you.  Share with them all that you have learned by letting go.  Will you share about the hope you found and the healing you received when you trusted me with your past?

Throw a party and invite your family, friends and those you have just met.  They will hear your story through the life you live.  Your peace and joy are contagious and those who come will want to know more about why you are the way you are.

When I call you to celebrate, it is not so that you can deny your struggles.  There is a time and place for both, but celebrating and thanksgiving will be the door that leads you to healing and freedom.  It will be the door to enter and share.

Life on earth is hard and you will have days that seem less then days to celebrate.   Those days I am will with you just the same.

Look to me, see me in all you do and all you go through.  I have not forgotten you, I have not let go.

Celebrate and see all I have given you.

Love Your